Tuesday, October 9, 2012

(Super) Easy Burlap Stockings

If you're like me, you keep seeing all these cute things you'd like to have, but just can't bring yourself to actually fork over the cash to buy them.  In recent times of thrift (like saving for a house), I find myself putting off things I'd like to have more than ever. 

Now, I haven't always been the penny-pinching type, but we didn't always have the money available growing up for some of the things we wanted (i.e. a dress).  So, my mom gave me one of the best gifts she could have: she taught me how to sew.  This opened a whole new outlet to me - a way to get what I really wanted but couldn't always afford, and allowed me to customize whatever it was that I was sewing for myself.  So, when I graduated high school (10 years ago already!) I went to college for Fashion Design.  Even though I didn't end up with a degree and a career as a fashion designer, I don't regret taking a whole year of sewing classes one bit (especially since it turned out I'd need those credits later when I got my Interior Design degree!).  It's a skill I'll have (and utilize) for the rest of my life.

And that all leads us up to today's post.

I was scoping around online this morning and checking out the new Christmas decorations, and saw this stocking on the Ballard Designs website.

Burlap stockings.  Too cute.  They go with the whole Modern Rustic Vintage theme I've been going for at the new house.  The problem?  They're *on sale* for $55 a pop.  Dang.

I already needed to go to JoAnn Fabric for some upholstery tacks and another yard of brown fabric for an ongoing re-upholstery job we're doing on a chair, so while I was there, I picked up 2 yards each of ivory muslin and tan burlap for $2.99 a yard.

I was able to make four stockings out of my four yards of fabric for around $15 (including the thread I bought).  And I have enough leftover burlap for another project.  I see these pillows in my future.

So here's a quick tutorial on how I made mine.

1.  Lay out the ivory muslin on the floor, folded.  Lay a stocking you already have on top and cut around it to make a template.

2.  Lay out the burlap in a single layer and cut around the ivory template you just made.  You'll have 2 ivory fabric pieces and 1 burlap piece.

3.  For the cuff, I did a 5" thick band the same width as the ivory stocking piece.  You'll only need 1 for the front.  You could do another one for the back so that it's cuffed on both sides, but I didn't really see the point.

4.  Press under 1/2" - 5/8" for a seam on the bottom part of the cuff.  If you use an iron, you won't need to pin the seam - it's way easier, trust me.

5.  Sew the seam so that you'll have a finished edge.  The above photo shows the cuff with the finished edge already sewn.  (You're seeing the inside of the fabric, not the outside finished side).

6.  Take one of the ivory muslin pieces and the burlap piece and line them up on top of each other.  Luckily, there's no "right" or "wrong" side to either of these fabrics, so that makes things easier.  If you're using a fabric that has a definite right and wrong, you'll want to have the "wrong" sides facing each other.  These two pieces are going to make up the front piece of the stocking.  Since the burlap is holey and see-though, the second piece of ivory muslin is going to act as a lining for the burlap.

7.  Put the raw (not sewn) edge of the cuff (with the sewn under hem on the outside facing up) on top of the other 2 pieces.  See below.  So you have the table, the burlap piece, the ivory piece, then the ivory cuff on top. 

8.  Pin the top so that you can sew the 3 pieces of fabric straight along the edge.  You're only sewing the top edge of the stocking at this point.


9.  After you've got the top edge sewn, you'll want to trim that seam down by half, so that you'll eliminate the bulk along the top.

10.  Flip the cuff over so that it's on top of the burlap side, and the finished hem is facing up.  Press with the iron along the top seam so that it lays flat.  This is where that whole seam-trimming step will help you out. 

Now when you lay it on your table, you'll have the cuff (with the good side facing up, toward you), the burlap piece, then the ivory piece on bottom. 

11.  Take the other ivory muslin piece you haven't used yet and follow the same process used in Steps 4 & 5 to make a finished edge for the back piece of the stocking.

12. Make a little loop to hang your stocking. I used some upholstery binding / edging that I had from another project, but you could use ribbon if you wanted. Make the loop and place a pin so that the raw edges of the ribbon line up with the raw edges of the stocking.

13. Take the piece you just did the finished edge for and place it with the finished edge facing down, so that you see the raw edge that you sewed under, on top of the other two pieces.  Pin around all of the edges, with the heads of the pins facing the center of the stocking.  This will keep you from having to scoot the pin heads out of the way of your presser foot as you sew.

This is what you should see if you look into the stocking.  All the "good" sides of the fabric facing the inside, with your pretty finished seam at the top.

14.  I started sewing on the right side, where the loop is, working my way around the stocking, turning as I went, and ending up with the top left of stocking.

15.  Once you're done sewing, you can take your pins out and trim your seam down by half.

16.  Flip 'er right side out and press flat.  I only used the iron on the muslin side, since I'd never ironed burlap before and didn't want to risk starting a fire or scorching it.  Below is a closeup of what the loop will look like when you turn the stocking inside out.  All nice and finished.

And here's the finished stocking!

After I finished these, I realized that you could do the cuff an alternate way.  To do that, you can skip the step where you sew the bottom hem of the cuff, and just press it under with the iron.  Follow the same steps to attach the cuff to the one piece of ivory muslin and burlap, still trimming the seam and folding over.  Before you sew the back piece, top stitch straight across the 3 layers of fabric along the ironed-under edge.  This will leave you with a finished edge on the bottom of the cuff, but it will be sewn to the front of the stocking.

I'm going to get a silver paint pen and write all of our names on the cuff before we hang them up after Thanksgiving.  I know, a little ahead of schedule, but when you have the time, you take advantage of it.

Happy sewing!

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